UMass Women Turn the Page With a Familiar Face


When Angela McMahon stepped down at UMass in May after 12 years as the winningest coach in program history, the athletic department didn’t have to look far for the next (Minute)woman up.

Jana Drummond was by McMahon’s side for five seasons, and the program won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title in each of them. The Minutewomen also won two tournament titles and went to the NCAA tournament three times, including as an at-large in 2021.

When McMahon announced her departure, applying for the job was a no-brainer for Drummond.

“In addition to the team, the tradition of UMass lacrosse [includes] so many great individuals that make me proud to be a part of it,” Drummond said. “I have been so lucky to meet people from every era to help me understand why UMass was so special.”

One of those people was Drummond’s former boss in McMahon. The two are still in touch. This fact wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Drummond. Relationships mean everything to her, and she’s built them with people on campus — from the players to the athletic department to other support staff.

“I understand the great leaders we currently have and how each girl makes a special impact on the team,” Drummond said.

Drummond hopes the continuity will make the passing of the whistle easier on the players. And the foundation McMahon built — with Drummond’s help — is making the transition smoother, too. Often, new coaches come in after a string of poor seasons that led to a staff being let go. That’s not the case at UMass, where the Minutewomen are regularly competing for conference titles and NCAA berths.

“Because of the familiarity with the program over the years, I feel lucky and confident to continue to allow the things that have made us successful and be ready to adapt when the time comes,” Drummond said.

Part of the Minutewomen’s success has been because of its draw control unit, which Drummond oversaw. The team topped Division I in draws per game (19.11) and ranked sixth in draw control percentage (.616) in 2019. That earned Drummond a promotion to associate head coach. She helped build a culture of doing the little, unheralded things right, and she hopes to continue emphasizing that.

“UMass has always had an identity of having players with a tough mentality,” Drummond said.

But as she hits the recruiting trail, Drummond is looking for more than players with skills and reputations for being tough. Relationships remain at the core of her strategy for choosing the next Minutewomen.

“We don’t just look at the player on the field,” Drummond said. “We do research and talk to high school and club coaches. We look at the person as a whole and develop relationships with the whole player and show them what UMass is all about, so they know this is what it’s like and want to be a part of the process.”

Much will likely remain the same at UMass under Drummond. She’s not looking to reinvent the wheel but rather build off what’s already in place. And she’s not all that concerned about putting her own stamp on the program. Instead, she wants the players to feel empowered to author the next chapter of UMass lacrosse.

“With the great history we have at UMass, each team and staff have an opportunity to write their own page,” Drummond said. “To offer that to the program and staff is a great privilege.”


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